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Notes from Planet Earth

Would it make a difference in how we relate to an organism if it could be proven that the organism is a conscious being? It does seem we treat organisms we think of as possessing consciousness with more respect, care and empathy than we treat organisms which we believe are not so endowed. But is consciousness of any real value to an organism? If you think it's required for learning remember that honeybees can learn from each other quite readily. Would you grant bees consciousness? Or, is consciousness just a peculiar side effect of having large and complicated brains?

Questions and suggestions from readers are welcomed and will be responded to in future editions of this column. Contact me at cwdingman@frontiernet.net.

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